Aber Falls, also known as Rhaeadr Fawr in Welsh (which means “big waterfall” in Welsh), i located in the stunning Snowdonia National Park of North Wales and cascades down a rock face from a height of about 120 feet (37 m)! What’s best? It has one of the most accessible, child friendly hiking trails I have ever come across, making it a perfect day out for families with kids. I would highly recommend it if you are in area.
Here is all you need to know:
The well-maintained trail starts from the small village of Abergwyngregyn, located in Gwynedd on the north Wales coast. To reach the village, exit the A55 at Junction 13 and follow the brown tourist information signs for Aber Falls ( LL33 0LP).
There are two small car parks at the start of the Great Falls Walk– the lower car park and the upper car park. The lower car park takes you past a nice stream before you get onto the main path to the waterfalls, so the upper car park has better accessibility. There are also toilets at the upper car park.
The total capacity is of about 30 cars and the cost is £5/car. You have to drive through the village of Abergwyngregyn on a narrow road to get there. We were ok but I had heard that it can get congested on busy days. Alternatively, you can park in the free car park before reaching the village of Abergwyngregyn. This will add approximately 30 minutes to the walk to the Falls. Turn off the A55 at Junction 13 signed for Abergwyngregyn. Follow P signs to the free car park which is off to the left instead of following the road up into the village.
The walking routes:
There are two walking routes. One hike to Aber Falls is relatively easy and suitable for families with kids of various ages, which is the one we followed. There is a more challenging path to the falls through the woodland, which follows the river, but that path is unsuitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs. Both routes are clearly sign marked at entrance, so you can choose whichever you want
How long does the walk take?
The walk to the waterfall is 2¼ miles/3.7 kilometres (total there and back). It took us about 30 minutes to walk up and we did stop a few times. The descent was much quicker
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On the way:
We took the child friendly path and it was beautiful! The path is stoned, mostly flat and straightforward, making it doable for little legs and strollers but it does have a steady incline. There are generally some benches or logs after steeper ascents, so you can sit down and have a little rest. I wouldn’t say you need to be particularly fit to climb up, but you may need to go slow!
As you make your way to the water fall, you get to learn about local flora and fauna, observe wildlife, and even spot different birds and insects. You are sure to come across sheep on your way up (there are many of them!). There are many trees to climb and rocks to clamber. At halfway there is an information centre describing some of the history of the valley. You will go past a small weather station and includes various equipment like humidity sensors, wind director sensors etc. There are also many features of archaeological interest, including an Iron Age hillfort and the remains of several ancient round huts and a smithy. There are many information plaques along the way, so it’s perfect for teaching the kids and for distracting them from “the walk”.
The way forward is clear and straightforward. There is no chance you can get lost. As you draw nearer to the waterfall, you can hear it, and glimpses of its beauty peek through the trees, motivating you to press on. The path remains mostly unified until the very end, where it forks into two diverging trails. To the left, a stepped path awaits, while the right offers an accessible route. Both paths merge just a short distance ahead, right beside the magnificent waterfall, making it a matter of personal preference which one you choose.
Once at the falls, the safe viewing platforms allows you to witness the spectacular waterfall from a close distance. The cascading water and the surrounding rocky landscape are sure to captivate you all, as the light water splashes on you. There are shallow pools formed by the waterfall’s plunge close by. You can dip your feet in or your kids can clamber over the rocks if they are careful enough. The rocks are slippery and the water was cold. So, please be mindful of safety.
For a different perspective, you can cross the wooden bridge to reach the other side and ascend the stepped path to another viewing point at a higher level.
There are several spots along the trail and near the waterfall where you can have a relaxing picnic. Pack some sandwiches, snacks, and drinks to enjoy amidst the serene ambiance of Aber Falls. Give yourself about 1.5- 2hours to enjoy the place and make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes.